Flight of the Shearwater is the second volume in the Sturmtacher Trilogy and doesn't disappoint, says Julia Jones
Flight of the Shearwater
Ailsa Publishing, £15.99
Readers already gripped by The Gathering Storm, volume one of the Sturmtaucher Trilogy (ref to earlier review?), will need little encouragement to buy this second instalment – or indeed The Turn of the Tide, the final volume, which is already available.
Others may be waiting for the holiday season to give themselves permission to take 776 pages-worth of time away from ordinary life and duties.
Where’s a good patch of lockdown when you need it, potential readers may ask? I’ll admit to hesitating before plunging in again.
Second volumes are often difficult both to write and to read but this surpassed my expectations, offering me more uncomplicated reading pleasure than volume one.
Flight of the Shearwater continues the Second World War story of the Kastners and Nussbaums, German and Jewish families.
It covers the period between the invasion of Norway in April 1940 to November 1941, when the German invasion of Russia was not yet fully revealed as a fatal error and the ‘Final Solution’ to the existence of the Jewish people was almost, but not quite, being fully implemented.
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These were the chapters that kept me going through the gruesomeness. Alan Jones’s technique of developing separate story strands in very brief chapters (241 of them) works well to assist the reader to maintain momentum.
The interwoven stories are slow-burn, which is probably a relevant insight into how it might have felt to live through this period of apparently inexorable Nazi success.
The relentless detective work being carried out by two Gestapo agents heightens the tension.
As far as I’m concerned, the Christmas period would be incomplete without some truly immersive fiction.
If the bulk of the Sturmtacher Trilogy paper volumes seems daunting, the ebook editions represent extraordinarily good value.
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